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Massachusetts Pest Control License: Everything You Need to Know

Start a new career in the pest control industry. In this growing sector, you can help homeowners and businesses feel safe in their environments. You can either work for a company or start your own business. Read this guide to learn how to earn your Massachusetts pest control license.

Does Massachusetts Require a Pest Control License?

Yes, you need a Massachusetts pest control license.

Are There Different Types of Licenses for Massachusetts?

There are five different types of licenses/certifications. Applicator licensees apply general use pesticides on a for-hire basis (such as landscapers and exterminators) or on a not-for-hire basis (such as property managers, custodians, and groundskeepers). In this job, you may earn a salary between $30,000 and $40,000. 

Private certification is required for work with restricted use pesticide on land that you or your employer own or rent for agricultural purposes. Salary varies. Commercial certification lets you apply restricted use pesticides on a non-agricultural basis. Your salary would likely range from $30,000 to $40,000 range. Dealer licenses are required for those who sell restricted use pesticides. Finally, catch basin permits are only for government employees who use dry formulations for mosquito larvicides.

How Do I Become Licensed for Pest Control in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is responsible for overseeing licensure and administering exams. Registration can be completed online through the ePLACE Portal, and it should be completed at least a week prior to an exam. The portal also handles exam rescheduling and exam payment.

Exams for all of the categories with the exception of the catch basin permit are 125 questions. The catch basis permit exam consists of 50 questions.

Here’s more information about the exams and fees:

  • Applicator License: fee of $75, exam length of 105 minutes, passing score is 70%

  • Private Certification: fee of $125, exam length of 150 minutes, passing score is 75%

  • Commercial Certification: fee of $125, exam length of 150 minutes, passing score is 75%

  • Dealer License: fee of $125, exam length of 105 minutes, passing score is 75%

  • Catch Basin Permit: no fee, exam length of 60 minutes, passing score is 70%

To prepare for these exams, it's recommended that you purchase study manuals. For the applicator license, there are training workshops available through the UMass Extension program. Exams are administered throughout the year.

How to Use Your Pest Control License to Get a Job

Massachusetts has lots of available job openings. The average wage of a pest control technician in the state is $18.25 per hour. Many people would prefer a regular 9am - 5pm job. Reputable employers are open to training new employees and helping them maintain their licenses. In your interviews, discuss your work history, work ethic, and knowledge of the pest control industry.

Pest Control Industry Trends

The UMass Extension program has many resources for you to learn about new developments in the field. The pest control industry is fast paced and requires keeping customers satisfied. 

Dangers of Being a Pest Control Technician

Pest control technicians are exposed to extreme heat in the summer. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. Long pants, boots, and gloves can all offer protection. Pesticides are very dangerous in certain situations given their chemical composition. Be aware of how you store and use a product, and follow the exact instructions as indicated on the product label.

Is My Pest Control License Only Valid in Massachusetts?

Your Massachusetts pest control license is only valid within the state.

Use the ePLACE Portal to update your contact information. If you lose your license, contact the agency to request another.

How Often Do I Need to Renew My Pest Control License in Massachusetts?

A Massachusetts pest control license must be renewed every year. Here are the fees:

  • Private certification - $100

  • Applicator licenses - $100

  • Commercial certification - $150

  • Dealer licenses - $300

Every three years, you'll either have to pass the exam again or attend a pre-approved recertification training program. The hours required for continuing education depend on your license. 

Six hours of continuing education are required for licensed pesticide applicators. Certified commercial and private applicators have to attend 12 hours of continuing education per category. Three hours is required for licensed pesticide dealers.


New to the Pest Control industry and looking to get licensed, or already a seasoned veteran and want to take your business to the next level? Find out more about Housecall Pro’s all-in-one Pest Control Software.